Battlepanda: Taxing our way to prosperity?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Taxing our way to prosperity?

Nice article by Matt Yglesias attacking the conventional wisdom that a larger public sector necessarily leads to lower economic prosperity.
All sorts of things influence economic growth, and the developed world provides plenty of examples of countries combining economic dynamism with a robust safety net. Indeed, in a business climate increasingly characterized by uncertainty, such safety nets are arguably conducive to the kind of risk-taking necessary to participate in contemporary capitalism. Just as all those helmets, complicated ropes, and other safety gear let people climb dangerous rocks, the guarantee that you'll be protected from economic turbulence that is beyond your power to control can increase flexibility in the labor market, encourage entrepreneurship, and otherwise facilitate growth.

This reminds me the first item from my elevator pitch -- we need to re-conceptualize social programs as giving Americans the tools to succeed, as opposed to charity.
We cannot be the Mommy party, holding back the American people from their true potential because we are overprotective and afraid they would skin their knees. Americans want to play hard, not play nice. Instead, we have to cast ourselves as America’s coach. Like any good coach, we’re cheering for our players to give it 100%. But we also make sure that they’re not going on the field without their protective gear, and that any injured players are taken care of so that they can play another day. This is how we should sell our social programs -- nationalized healthcare, unemployment benefits, keeping social security the way it is, and increased spending on education.